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Korean Search Engines And Korean SEO

Search Engines in Korea

The first thing that strikes you when you visit Korea is the level of broadband usage. South Korea has an estimated 30 million internet users and has the world's deepest internet penetration rate at 67 percent, according to government figures. The average Korean has more bandwidth, online longer, and quite efficient at extracting information out of the web.

The most regular usage of internet is information search, e-mail, news, shopping, together with the movie and music for Korean' entertainment needs.

Korean search market

In 2006, more than 90 percent of the Korean netizens are search engine users, and with the increasing penetration of internet search on people' daily lives, online marketing is developing rapidly in recent years. Research shows most of people use over 2 search services at least according to different search sections, it reveals Korean netizens are highly experienced search engine users and their dependence on search engines.

Majority of Korean search engine site is more like a portal website than a mere search engines, also Korean netizens prefers integrate search result of internal database in portal site, which include not only essential webpage search result, but also images, news media, music, and other specialized services provide by individual portals, like user's Q&A, forums, and blogs.

However, since the Korean slice of the web is relatively small compared to the English, search engines more rely on human interaction instead of software to get search results, also this is the reason for the success of Q&A service in South Korea. (It is the service which let users post questions that are answered by other users, Naver's Knowledgein is the most successful model of Q&A service.)

Most of the Korean engines' Natural web results don't even appear until the bottom of a results page. 3/4 of the page is other search results including various forms of sponsored results, with PPC at the top.

Important paid search Provider in Korea

PPC service provider


sponsored link result which displayed on the top of the partner website' result page.
Naver, Yahoo! Korea, Nate, Dream Wiz, Paran, MSN, HanaFos, etc.


Sponsored link result which displayed on the top of the google and partner website' result page.
Google, Daum, Empas, Enuri, etc.


Click-choice, only displayed on Naver search result page, followed by the overture's sponsor link result.


Clix, only displayed on Daum search result page, followed by Google' sponsor link.

In Korean paid search engine market, Overture had about 90% of market share with their partnership with majority of the popular Korean portals. However, with the recent shift of Daum (Second largest portal in Korea) and empas(fourth largest portal) from Overture to the Google, market situation may change in the future.

Popular search portals in Korea

  • Naver (Overture Korea and Naver),
  • Daum (Google and Daum),
  • Yahoo Korea (Overture),
  • Nate (Overture),
  • Empas (Google),
  • Paran (Overture),
  • DreamWiz (Overture),
  • HanaFos.com (Overture),
  • MSN (Overture)
  • Cyworld (Overture)

Naver as the Korean No.1 popular portal website has the biggest search referral rate, followed by Daum, Yahoo Korea and Empas.

Company profile

Overture Korea

Yahoo operates its Overture services in South Korea, distributing paid listings on Korean's main portal web site since 2003.

Up to now, Overture is the most effective on-line PPC ads provider in Korea, since it is the exclusive provider of sponsored search listings for search queries on 11 korean portals, which include Naver, Yahoo! Korea, Nate, DreamWiz, Paran, MSN and hanaFos, etc. It means that with simply paying for Overture your ad will be displayed on all of the Overture's partner portal sites.


Google, the leading U.S. Web search service provider started its Korea site in 2000, introduced its desktop search and Gmail products in Korean, and it set up a Seoul office in June 2005.

Google is continually exploring opportunities to develop relationships with other Korean companies in all areas of their business. Google successfully established an alliance with Daum Communications, the nation's second biggest online portal as part of its move to challenge the domestic online search engine market where domestic companies dominate. Now with Google's ads service your ads will be displayed on sponsored search listings on Google, Daum, Empas, and enuri.com simultaneously.


Naver (www.naver.com), the search engine of NHN Corp is the number one search portal in Korea which has about 16 million of daily visitors and its homepage features 850 million page views.

Since its inception in June 1999, Naver has taken a leading role in developing Korea's search services industry through the development of internal database. Like KnowledgeIn, operating in October 2002, provides data base of knowledge based on experiences and senses of internet users. It is settled as the new paradigm of search service in Korea.

Naver has their partnership with Yahoo Overture in Korea, and also provides their own paid search product like Power Link, Bid Link, and Plus-pro.


Daum (www.daum.net) is the second largest portal in Korea, boasts of 34 million registered subscribers with two million online communities.

Daum signed an agreement with Google to seek an alliance in online advertisement and search businesses. With this alliance, Daum use Google's paid search ads to create a better match between advertisers and internet users' search terms for their sponsor Link ads.

Although Daum made a strategic partnership with Google, Daum did own one, which called Adclix.

Important issues for your success in Korean marketing

In order to success in Korean market, it is important to adapt to specific market factors, like different culture and social background.

With the severe competition of the online marketing, high standard, user-friendly designed website and good reputation building will be critical for your success.

In addition, Koreans embrace the visually rich websites which also benefit from being a world leader in per-capita broadband connections.

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